Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Other Degree Name/Area of Focus

Developmental Psychology

Department or School/College

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Paul Silverman

Commitee Members

Cameo Stanick, Lois Muir, John Sommers-Flanagan, Nancy Seldin


early intervention, parent-child relationships, reflective functioning


University of Montana


Child maltreatment continues to occur at alarming rates, and while several interventions currently exist for use with parents to minimize the incidence of child maltreatment (Daro & McCurdy, 2007), many can be time consuming for service providers and consumers. One program, the Circle of Security (COS), lasts 20 weeks with weekly sessions lasting approximately 2 hours each (Marvin, Cooper, Hoffman, & Powell, 2002). To make the program more accessible, the program’s originators modified it into a DVD protocol comprising only 8- weeks (Cooper, Hoffman, & Powell, 2009). The current study evaluated the effectiveness of the COS DVD program in improving parent-child relationships. Most participants were randomly assigned to either a Treatment-Control (n = 24) or Control-Treatment group (n = 13); the Treatment-Control group participated immediately in treatment, while the Control-Treatment group waited to begin until after the Treatment-Control group had finished. Groups were compared on several outcome measures, including reflective functioning—the target of intervention. Repeated measures ANOVAs detected few significant differences between groups across time on most variables, although some trends emerged. Results indicate the need for further study and suggest that the DVD version may require necessary components removed from the original program.



© Copyright 2014 Whitney Rostad